When we moved into Les Fragnes nearly five years ago now, the loft of what is now our gite, Notaire’s House, was stuffed with treasures – clothes, tools, toys, books and journals. One of these journals is La Mode Illustrée. We have copies dating back to 1876. It’s a large format newspaper, obviously aimed at well-to-do ladies, and packed full of detailed black and white drawings of the latest fashions. Most issues include a detailed paper pattern and stories – and, as mentioned yesterday, a rebus! Amazon.fr even sells a book of 1,000 illustrations from this journal:



La Mode Illustrée was delivered to the homes of elegant ladies around France every other Sunday. Why one was delivered here is an enticing mystery I’m longing to solve. We think that a young lady called Genevieve, whose home was at nearby Les Combes, a very fine house, married the Notaire who lived here, possibly Marcel Beaufils. We have snippets of information amongst the things we found but not the whole story. I really must get down to the archives at Guéret for a lengthy browse through any relevant records.

So for now some pictures from this wonderful old newspaper. However, I am incredibly grateful that we don’t still wear clothes like that. I can’t believe they were comfy, and I certainly can’t see myself mucking out the llamas in one of those outfits!

Double page spread

This fortnight's pattern

Another double page spread and pattern - what sleeves!